The Call of Duty

Scene 1—(Alavoa)

(Establishing shots of the land-scape.

Caption: Alavoa, mostly jungle, the settlers sustain their community cultivating fruits.

Dense jungle—the slopes of the mountains slope down to the narrow river in the steep valley. The vibe is of the classic "jungle operas"—dense vines, huge multi-coloured flowers and exotic fruit. In the distance is a dormant volcano— a cone-shaped mountain with just a few wisps of smoke. The sky is tinged with pink and an orange and a green planet hang low in the sky. Beautiful multi-coloured birds fly among the trees and over-head pterodactyls soar.

Down on the river-bank is a village of low earth houses with thatch roofs. They are surrounded by little fields and gardens where alien fruits grow.

About a mile up-river from the village is a spectacular water-fall with the county gaol— a similar long earth building to the village houses— balancing on a rock rising from the middle of the spray half-way up.

The sun begins to set over the jungle-clad mountains. The pterodactyls and exotic birds set up their evening chorus.

We focus on the detail— a little up-stream from the village Harry is fishing. Harry is in his mid-twenties, a decent, clean-living country boy. He's wearing a cotton T-shirt and slacks, and a hunting knife stuck in his belt. He's waiting for Rosalinda, increasingly impatiently. Bobby, his little mongrel dog, is snoozing peacefully at his heels.

Rosalinda arrives, hurrying through the trees. She's the same age as Harry, wearing a faded country girl's cotton dress.)

Rosalinda: Sorry I'm late, sweetheart, I had to get away from grand-dad, you know what he's like. (Rolls her eyes and kisses Harry.)

(Bobby pushes his nose into Rosalinda's hand and she scratches him behind the ears.)

Harry: Hello, darling. Never mind your grand-dad, he'll come round.

Rosalinda: I hope so. He's just being a stubborn cuss.

Harry: Tell him I've nearly finished the home-stead. I can plant, next season, and won't have to work for the Hobson's past this winter.

Rosalinda: I'm sure he'll be quite happy once you're a home-steader. He just doesn't want me marrying a farm-hand.

Harry: Well, I shan't be a farm-hand much longer. And then we'll get married and have a horde of children and a cat.

Rosalinda: At least two boys and two girls. (Kisses him) And grow into a really cool old couple.

(Harry puts his arm around her and they snuggle on the river-bank.)

Harry: Have you seen Bobby's new trick?

(Bobby, aware that he's being talked about, whines softly and wags his tail.)

Rosalinda: He has a new trick?

Harry: He stands on his head.

Rosalinda: (Amused) Let's see.

Harry: Stand on your head! Stand on your head for Rosalinda! Good boy!

(Bobby rubs the top of his head on the ground, all four legs remaining firmly on the floor.)

Harry: Oh, good boy! Good boy! (Cradles Bobby's head and scratches him behind the ears. Turns to Rosalinda.) Did you see that? Did you see that?

Rosalinda: (Amused) That was less standing on his head and more rubbing his head on the ground.

Harry: (To Bobby) Don't listen to her, darling. You're a good dog. You do good standing on your head. Clever boy…

(Bobby is ecstatic to be thus praised.)

Rosalinda: You're an idiot, Bobby. (Kisses him on the head.)

(Bobby settles down with his head in her lap and returns to his slumbers.)

Rosalinda: Caught anything?

Harry: Yes! (Rummages in his bucket) I caught a… (He frowns and peers into the empty bucket.) Bobby…?

(Bobby opens one eye, radiating innocence. Rosalinda bursts out laughing. The sun goes down on the two of them and Bobby, sitting by the river in the dusk, while lamps flicker in the village behind them.)

Scene 2—Rosalinda's House, Next Afternoon

(The kitchen in Rosalinda's house is a long low room, with bare earth walls and floor. There are cupboards along the walls, a stove in one corner with a rag rug in front of it, a table in the middle of the room with a wooden bench on either side. A daguerreotype on the window-sill of a young man and woman holding a tiny baby.

In a rocking chair by the stove is Rosalinda's grand-father, very old, with a white beard. Sitting at the table darning a blouse is her grand-mother, not quite as old, but with white hair and delicate hands.

In the little patch of garden out the back door is Rosalinda, on her hands and knees in the fruit bed, singing "I'll Never Find Another You".)

Rosalinda: There's always someone, for each of us they say… And you'll be my someone, forever and a day… I know I'll never find another you…

(Three sharp bangs on the door. Rosalinda's grandmother gets up slowly to see who it is, but Rosalinda gets there first, and opens the door.

She's taken aback to see Justin Despard. Despard is in his late twenties. He's wearing the simple clothes of the country gentleman farmer, quality, but not flashy— he doesn't need flashy. He has a long, straight, very sharp and highly polished sword on his hip. He smiles politely as if he were welcome, but he clearly isn't. Rosalinda instinctively backs off from him a little, tense. Her grandmother lowers her darning and eyes him suspiciously. Mr Ray glares.)

Despard: (Cheerfully) Good morning, Miss Ray.

Rosalinda: (Coldly) Good morning, Mr Despard.

Despard: (To Mr and Mrs Ray) Leave us.

Mrs Ray: (Summoning her nerve) This is our house you're ordering us about in.

Despard: (Tone conversational but face like granite) It's my house, actually, I own it.

(Mrs Ray takes in Despard's cold eyes and colder steel. She pulls Mr Ray's sleeve.)

Mrs Ray: Come on, dear.

Mr Ray: (Under his breath) If I were twenty years younger…

Mrs Ray: (Nervous) Hush, dear…

(They go slowly and reluctantly into the next room.)

Despard: (Taking up position on the hearth rug as if it were his house) I hope you're well?

Rosalinda: Perfectly, thank you. But I don't believe you came here to discuss my health.

Despard: Your health is of the upmost importance to me. As your future husband-

Rosalinda: (Nervous, but summoning all her dignity) You'll never be my husband.

Despard: (Calmly) Your obstinacy is foolish.

Rosalinda: (Coldly) I don't see anything foolish in refusing to be chained to a brute.

Despard: (Voice icy calm and his eyes murderous) You won't talk like that when you're my wife.

Rosalinda: (Coldly) I'd rather die than be your wife.

Despard: (Still icy cool) You are a fool to choose suicide over an estate and a string of racing hippogriffs. A fool to throw away a life most women would only dream of.

Rosalinda: I can't be bribed, Mr Despard.

Despard: We're getting married in a week.

Rosalinda: (Withering scorn. Indignation conquering fear) We will not! I'm marrying Harry Jones.

Despard: (With a bow that is anything but deferential) Good day, Miss Ray.

(Rosalinda says nothing. She maintains her air of stately dignity until the door slams after him, then sinks down fainting on the table. Mrs Ray sticks her head round the door.)

Rosalinda: (Faintly) Grandmother?

Mrs Ray: Has he gone, dear?

Rosalinda: (Faintly) Yes

(Mr and Mrs Ray sit down at the table. Mr Ray, who is really very old, mutters incoherently but clearly angrily to himself. Mrs Ray strokes Rosalinda's back.)

Mrs Ray: (Unconvinced) He can't really marry you, you know.

Rosalinda: He can do anything he likes. He owns the whole of…

Mrs Ray: He doesn't. It's a free settlement.

Rosalinda: Well, he says he does, and he has friends in the Land Rights Office.

Mrs Ray: Owning the land doesn't give you any rights to force you to marry him.

Rosalinda: You don't really believe that. You know he can do what he likes.

Scene 3—River Bank, Later

Harry and Bobby are down by the river in the twilight. Rosalinda approaches along the river bank in tears.

Harry: What's wrong, sweetheart?

Rosalinda: Despard… (Sobs)

Harry: Is he still bothering you?

Rosalinda: (Nods and swallows a sob) I'm scared of him…

(Harry puts his arms round her and she cries into his shoulder. Bobby whines softly and licks her face.)

Rosalinda: What am I gonna do, Harry? If I stand up to him, he'll tear me to pieces…

(She sits and cries on the river-bank. Little bioluminescent plankton in the water glow in the fading light. A huge moon hangs in the sky.)

Harry: He can't force you.

Rosalinda: No. I'll kill myself first. But I'd rather not die, either.

Scene 4—Rosalinda's Kitchen

(Fire on the stove. Rooms lit by lamps which are in fact glow-worms. Grandfather asleep in the rocking chair. Grandmother and Mrs Harris knitting and talking.)

Mrs Harris: What does he mean "squatters"? We settled here years ago, we've worked this land for generations. Bleedin' disgrace! "Squatters" indeed!

Grandmother: The lies these people tell. Just because he's got his claim done up all nice and legal, like, he claims we're here illegally.

Mrs Harris: The law's an ass!

Grandmother: Very well said!

Mrs Harris: My Sid's worked this land of his own since he were a lad, and if he has to go back to working a chain gang, I fear he'll take a shot-gun to himself.

Grandmother: Where'd he get the shot-gun? You have to be careful with them nowadays.

(Rosalinda enters, tear-marks on her face.)

Rosalinda: Oh, hi, Mrs Harris. (Going to rummage in the cupboard for a snack) They're having a big crackdown on private weapon ownership. Prevention of social disorder, that's what they say.

Mrs Harris: (Snorts with contempt) Prevention of social disorder! Prevention of decent law-abiding folks standing up for themselves when they're being robbed blind! Disgrace what the world's coming to… (Noticing Rosalinda still staring aimlessly into the cupboard) Are you all right, dear?

Rosalinda: Despard's bullying me. He wants to marry me.

Mrs Harris: Bloody disgrace! Excuse my language, I don't normally curse. The bloody cheek of the man. Excuse my language, but I mean to say…!

(Rosalinda takes a biscuit from the cupboard and sits down next to Mrs Ray, staring into the flames on the hearth.)

Scene 5—Rosalinda's Kitchen, Next Morning

(Rosalinda is alone in the kitchen, cooking porridge on the stove. The door is open and a number of fluffy chickens are hopping around on the step. Despard strolls right in as if it were his house.)

Rosalinda: (Hisses with rage) Get out!

Despard: I take that to mean that my suggestion still isn't meeting with your enthusiasm.

Rosalinda: That would be an understatement. (Coldly) You are disgusting.

Despard: Very well. I would hate to inconvenience your breakfast. (He bows and leaves, a clenched muscle in his jaw. He means business.)

(Mrs Ray comes in from the garden and sees Rosalinda standing shaking by the stove.)

Mrs Ray: What is it, darling? What's wrong?

Rosalinda: Despard came. But he's gone already.

Mrs Ray: Gone already? That's good. Perhaps it means he's giving in.

Rosalinda: (Slowly) No. He's not giving in. He'll never give in. (Shudders)

Mrs Ray: But he won't even be here much longer. He's only touring the provincial planets for his application to the Land Rights Board. He's going home to Venus next week.

Rosalinda: He says we're getting married in a week.

Mrs Ray: Ignore him. He's just trying to scare you.

Scene 6—Rosalinda's Bedroom

(A little room with a low bed with a floral-print blanket. A wooden chest at the foot of the bed. A daguerreotype of a young man and woman in wedding clothes on the window ledge.

Rosalinda is asleep in bed. It's early morning, and the first rays of light are just peeping over the horizon.

Bobby bounces onto the window-ledge and begins to bark, steadily and insistently.

Rosalinda opens her eyes and blinks.)

Rosalinda: Harry?

(She sits up and looks around, but Harry isn't there. Bobby is alone.)

Rosalinda: What are you doing, darling? Where's Harry? Where's your master?

(Bobby barks insistently. He points with nose like a gun dog, down the dirt road to a little house on the edge of the jungle.)

Rosalinda: There's something over there? Something you want to show me?

(Bobby barks.)

Rosalinda: (With dawning horror) Harry? Is Harry all right?

(She climbs out of bed, jumps out of the window (the house is a bungalow) and runs after Bobby down the dirt road to Harry's house, barefoot in a flimsy nighty, her hair flying behind her.

Harry's house is a little mud hut on the edge of the jungle.

In the grey dawn light, a huddled shape is lying on the front door-step. Rosalinda draws nearer. It's the body and severed head of her grandfather.)

Rosalinda: Grandfather! (Looking around her desperately) Harry! Harry! (Desperate wail) Harry!

(Cut to…)

Scene 7—Deep Space

(Star-sprinkled black space.

Caption: Deep Space

Tenpole Tudor's "Swords of a Thousand Men" begins. Gloriana is in the middle of the screen, with the stars and distant multi-coloured planets behind her. She's built like an ocean-going iron-clad, with heavy mounted guns. Her name's in big, ornate letters on the bows. When the drum-roll starts in "Swords of a Thousand Men", Still Afloat swoops in alongside. She's much smaller, mostly wooden, the lines of a ketch or a cutter rather than an iron-clad, lovingly scrubbed and polished but old and a bit worn-and-torn. Her name's also in big wooden letters across the bows. She has two forward-facing cannons. She fires one and destroys two of Gloriana's cannons.

Cut to Gloriana's cock-pit, sparsely-furnished with brass fittings and instrument panels around the walls and a wooden table in the middle. The helmsman is sitting on a stool looking down a brass telescope. The crew carry pistols and swords and are wearing high sea-boots. Most of the crew are studying panels of brass instruments around the walls. The captain, who has a coat a bit like Nelson's, is standing in the centre of the cock-pit, the chief mate is standing by the helms-man's stool. The room is shaking from the impact of the guns.)

Chief mate: We're under attack, captain!

Captain: (Sarcastic) As ever, your unerring powers of observation draw our attention to details we might otherwise have missed.

Chief mate: (Missing the sarcasm) Thank you, captain.

Captain: (Ignoring him) From whom? Fire cannons to starboard!

(The crew scrambles up and can be seen in the back-ground loading the cannons like eighteenth-century long-guns.)

Helmsman: I don't know, sir.

(Loud crash, cock-pit judders. Chief mate grabs telescope off helmsman and peers down.)

Captain: Stand back to repel boarders!

(The wall is blasted away)

Chief mate: From-

(A grappling hook appears at the edge of the hole in wall. Jack swings himself through the hole, using an EVA safety tether like a traditional pirate rope, a rapier between his teeth. A grey corrugated iron screen marked "emergency screen for holes, abrasion and other damage in hull, superstructure or plot" clunks down behind his head. He yanks off a bubble-shaped transparent space helmet with one hand and pulls his rapier from between his teeth with the other. He's in his late twenties, wearing the ruffled shirt and tight trousers with a leather sword belt of eighteenth-century pirates, maybe a bandana, because bandanas are cool. A flintlock pistol's hanging from his sword-belt. On his left wrist is a large, silver, complicated-looking wrist-watch with many faces. Overall effect of old-fashioned glamour.

On his shoulder is Stella. Stella is a small velociraptor with blue and purple iridescent feathers. She is also wearing a small helmet which she removes with one fore-claw. She bows sweepingly.)

Jack: Jack Kerry of the Co-operative, here for your gold.

Stella: (Reproachfully) Wheep!

Jack: And Stella.

Stella: (Satisfied) Wheep

Captain: We only have uranium.

Jack: That'll do.

Captain: (Remembering the appropriate lines) You're outnumbered and out-gunned. (Draws his sword.) Surrender or die!

(Jack lunges, thrusts under his arm and kills him.)

Jack: (Calmly) I was under the impression (Chief Mate lunges from behind, Jack spins round and blocks him) you (Jack thrusts under the chief mate's arm and kills him, the chief mate's blade strikes Jack's arm) people (Jack twirls his sword and points it at the Second Mate) will surrender. And a gentleman doesn't attack from behind! (A crew-man makes a hesitating move for his flint-lock, Stella lashes it out of his hand with her tail and flicks across his face. The crew unanimously drop their weapons)

Second mate: We… we… would be delighted to present you with our supply of uranium… on… behalf of the crew of Gloriana

(A crew-man places a large, firmly sealed suit-case on the table. Jack slips the wrist of his free hand through it so he's carrying the suitcase on his arm, without moving the sword in his right hand.)

Jack: (Politely, bowing sweepingly as he replaces his helmet with his free hand) I thank you for your generosity.

(Stella bows and replaces her helmet. Jack spins round, grabs his flintlock from his belt, blasts a hole in the emergency screen)

Jack: However unwilling. (Jumps, grabs hold of the EVA tether and swings out.)

(The Crew grab their guns and fire after him, but miss, and the old-fashioned pistols can only hold one bullet in the barrel at once.)

Second mate: Don't do anything, just stand there (fading out) why don't you?

(Cut to an exterior shot of Still Afloat soaring away. Music fades out.)

Scene 8—The Waterfall, Alavoa, Later

(The waterfall crashes down onto the rocks below. From the middle of the spray, on an upward-thrusting rock, is a little mud hut with a thatch roof. A hand-painted wooden sign by the door reads "Alavoa Court-House and Gaol". The rope bridge through the spray connects it to the little dirt path through the jungle on the bank. Rosalinda staggers across the bridge. She's still wearing her nightie and her hands and nightie are covered in blood. She's shocked and shaking. She arrives at the stout wooden door of the gaol and bangs on it. The gaoler opens it. The gaoler is a tired, middle-aged man in a crumpled shirt and faded trousers. He's taken the job because the pay is steady and it doesn't take much effort. He's yawning. The downside of the job is that homicidal maniacs have no respect for civilised people's working hours. He pulls on a Stetson with a vague idea of looking more respectable for the young lady.)

Gaoler: (Looking Rosalinda up and down, bewildered) Can I help?

Rosalinda: (Panting) Where's Harry?

Gaoler: Who?

Rosalinda: (Slowing her breathing and brushing her wind-swept hair off her face, leaving bloody finger-marks on it.) Harry. Harry Jones. My husband. Or, he was going to be my husband.

Gaoler: Oh, him! The murderer. Not that we're supposed to call him that until he's been tried. What do you want him for?

Rosalinda: (Still breathless and half-crazed) I'm going to kill him.

Gaoler: I don't think you can do that until after the trial. (Looks at her with mild curiosity) And I'm going to have to see your licence. No hangings on Alavoa without being licenced to perform safe executions. (Mingled anxiety and indignation) Does the Governor have a problem with my performance as hangman?

Rosalinda: (A dangerous gleam in her eye) I'm not the hangman! He's killed my grandfather!

Gaoler: (Thoughtfully) I thought you an unusual hangman. I'm afraid there's nothing about killing in the visitors' regulations. The prisoner may see legal advice and friends and family. Are you legal advice or friends and family?

Rosalinda: (Controlling herself with difficulty) I guess I'm a former friend.

Gaoler: Come with me.

Scene 9—Inside Alavoa Gaol

(A low-ceilinged mud hut, dirt walls, bare rock floor. Glassless windows over the sheer waterfall— the rock really doesn't extend beyond the gaol walls at the back end, and it's a long way down. The spray crashes down right outside the window and droplets of water land on the floor.

It's only one room. A door in one wall is labelled "Alavoa Court-House". In the middle of the room is a desk with a chair behind it, where the gaoler sits. On the desk is a daguerreotype of a family group, a half-eaten apple, a pipe, a neglected in-tray and a paperback romantic novel. The gaoler hurriedly grabs a piece of paper from the in-tray and uses it to conceal the paperback novel.

In the corner of the room is a cage— two sides are the walls of the gaol, the other two roughly cobbled together iron bars. In this cage, sitting on the floor, is Harry.)

Rosalinda: (Voice tight with grief and anger) How dare you?

Harry: I haven't done anything!

Rosalinda: (Fumbling in her skirt and pulling out a knife) You killed my grandfather… (Voice trails away breathlessly. She's emotionally screwed to fever-pitch)

Gaoler: Steady on, miss! We're not supposed to do any of that until after the trial!

Harry: I didn't!

Rosalinda: (Hesitating, starting to be convinced by his tone) You didn't…?

Harry: No. (Dawning horror) Did you really believe…?

Rosalinda: (Dissolving in tears and dropping the knife on the floor) Oh, I knew you wouldn't. I knew you wouldn't… But it seemed so plausible at the time… He always opposed the wedding and some men do…

Harry: Well, I didn't.

Rosalinda: But then… who did…?

Harry: I have no idea.

Rosalinda: (Trying to be calm) I'm sure the real culprit will come forward rather than let an innocent man suffer for what he did.

Harry: I expect so.

Rosalinda: They can't convict you on such purely circumstantial evidence. They haven't any witnesses.

Harry: All they have is a motive, and that doesn't prove anything beyond reasonable doubt.

Rosalinda: (Calmer, smiling shakily) I guess it isn't as bleak as it looks. (To the gaoler) When's the trial?

Gaoler: Tomorrow morning. His Honour'll be here tomorrow.

Rosalinda: (With the air of one trying to convince herself as much as anybody else) It'll be fine. The real culprit will come forward by then.

Gaoler: (Having a sentimental moment) Well, I do hope so. It's sad to see a young couple in these straits. (To Harry, helpfully) Written your will yet?

Harry: No.

Gaoler: That's something you might want to be getting on with, then. I've got a pen somewhere… (Begins rummaging around on his desk)

Harry: (Indignant) I haven't been found guilty yet.

Gaoler: (Shrugs) Well, if you prefer to wait until you have been, that's up to you. Personally, I don't see much point in procrastinating these things.

Harry: I think it might be more sensible to get in touch with a lawyer.

Gaoler: Good idea, especially if it's a complicated will.

Harry: Not to write my will! To get legal representation!

Gaoler: (Impressed) That's intelligent, that is. Pro-active. Nice to see some fighting spirit.

Rosalinda: I'll go into Laketown for the lawyer. I just hope he doesn't already have a case… (Kisses Harry) See you later.

Gaoler: Good luck. That'll be McGinty, you're after?

Rosalinda: He's the best lawyer in Laketown.

Gaoler: He's the only lawyer in Laketown since his business partner had that nasty accident with the buzz-saw and the flame-thrower. And if it doesn't work out, he writes wills as well.

Scene 10—Rosalinda's House

(In the kitchen. Rosalinda pulls a strong-box out of the cup-board, opens it and begins shoving money into a little leather bag. She turns round and Despard is standing in the middle of the room as if it were his house.)

Despard (Icily polite) Good morning, Miss Ray.

Rosalinda: (Trembling with shock and indignation, but holding it together) What are you doing in my house?

Despard: I've come to express my sorrow at your husband's death.

Rosalinda: He's not dead yet. He hasn't even been convicted yet.

Despard: I think, if we're being realistic, that the matter is a foregone conclusion.

Rosalinda: Hope dies last.

Despard: A childish delusion.

Rosalinda: We'll see.

Despard: Yes, we'll see Mr Jones hang.

Rosalinda: I'll save him. I'll get a good lawyer. The best.

Despard: The best, and, from what I've heard, the only. Regrettably, however, the Crown's evidence is so damning that no jury on Alavoa could acquit.

Rosalinda: What evidence? The evidence is purely circumstantial. Grandfather's body was found outside his house. No jury could convict on that.

Despard: Unfortunately, the Crown has eye-witness evidence.

Rosalinda: Whose evidence?

Despard: Mine. Two of my servants. A business associate of mine. Three of his servants. A-

Rosalinda: (Quietly furious) You set him up.

Despard: Any lawyer will tell you how fragile alternative-perpetrator defences are.

Rosalinda: (With quiet, concentrated venom) You are scum.

Despard: And you are foolish.

Rosalinda: (Drawing herself up to her full hight. Eyes like ice.) I'll save my husband.

Despard: He is not, and never will be, your husband.

Rosalinda: Yes, he will.

Despard: He'll die on the gallows.

Rosalinda: Not if there's anything I can do about it.

Despard: There's nothing you can do about it. The only person who might be able to do something about it is Justin Despard's wife.

Rosalinda: (Very quietly) How could you…?

Despard: I'm merely making a suggestion.

Rosalinda: (Still quiet, shocked) This was your plan all along… (Looks him straight in the eye, steadies her voice) I will never marry you.

Despard: At yet you claimed to love this man… I'm leaving for my estates on Venus tomorrow morning. I'll see you then. (Bows with exaggerated politeness and leaves)

(Rosalinda collapses trembling in a chair. The tears slide out of her eyes and begin to trickle down her face)

Scene 11- Lake Town

(A lake in the middle of the jungle. The houses of Laketown are built on floating platforms in the middle of the lake. Rosalinda is standing outside McGinty's business, a wooden building with "McGinty: Civil Law, Criminal Law, Funeral Director" painted above the door. The sign had said "Smith and McGinty" but the "Smith and" now has a black line through it. Rosalinda takes a deep breath, clutches her bag of coins and plunges into the shop.)

Scene 12—McGinty's Office

(In McGinty's office there's a desk with a chair on each side. On the desk is a coffee pot, a half-eaten sponge cake, a very moth-eared copy of Archbold and an assault rifle. McGinty, who looks more like a small-town gun-slinger who's seen better days than a lawyer, is sitting on one side of the desk, leafing through his diary, and Rosalinda is sitting on the other side, the bag of money in front of her.)

Rosalinda: Please, Mr McGinty… Please… I'll do anything…

McGinty: I'm afraid it's impossible, ma'am. My current work-load would be unable to accommodate it.

Rosalinda: What is your current work-load?

McGinty: (Offended) I cannot discuss details of my case with third parties.

Rosalinda: This other case is a murder case, is it?

McGinty: Not at all. It's a private law-suit revolving around the encroachments of the poultry on a vegetable patch. A highly complex and, I assure you, highly important case.

Rosalinda: This is a murder trial. A man's life is at stake.

McGinty: (Irritated) And so are a great many cabbages! I cannot be expected to drop everything at this crucial juncture to prop up hopeless cases for fools. Now, Miss Ray, I think we've said everything we have to say to each other.

(Rosalinda rises with a face like death and fumbles blindly out the door. She walks along the floating raft between the houses in a daze, then collapses on the raft and begins to cry. Eventually she stops crying and pulls a photo of Harry out of her pocket. She looks at it for a moment, then puts it back in her pocket and strides away, her face still set like death.)

Scene 13—Still Afloat

(Jack is in the cock-pit of Still Afloat. It's small and cramped, old and battered-looking, but very tidy, scrubbed and clean. There are bits of the cock-pit which look newer than the rest, and don't match, as if they were replacement parts. It's wooden, with a big brass engine, studded with gold screws, at the back of the room, with a tangle of brass pipes coming from it to the ceiling. On either side of the engine is a little round door (the port door is to the bath-room, the starboard to the cabin). On both sides of the hull are fold-down wooden gang-planks with coat pegs next to them.

In the bows is a wooden Control Panel, with a brass Lever which resembles a rudder/throttle lever; metal-and-wood instruments which resemble an old silver altimeter, a brass compass, a mariner's astrolabe; an old spy-glass on a stand; a ship's steering wheel; a glass ball set in the panel which swivels and tilts occasionally and looks important; a device like an old, cheap music box crossed with a half-completed Chinese puzzle box which is actually the radio. The main function of these things is to look aesthetic. Above the Panel there's a bay glass-block window.

In front of the Panel is the only chair, an old captain's chair which clearly started life as a floral-pattern armchair before being fitted with a seat-belt and nailed to the floor. There's a cupboard built into the wall, with hooks and chains across the door, like on a ship.

There's a calendar on the wall, with many careful annotations. Next to the calendar is a clock, with a large face, various small faces, even smaller faces piled on top of those, some of them moving around. Around each face are lots of numbers and labels. There are recognizable numbers labelled "Galactic Standard Time", indecipherable squiggles labelled "Huchra Cluster Summer Time" etc. There are many hands, such as "minutes", "hours", "aeon", "neutron star life cycle".

Jack is sitting in the captain's chair, singing Skipinnish's "Steer by the Stars". Stella is sitting on his shoulder, preening her feathers.

In the distance a space-ship approaches. She has armour-plating and a sleek, mean appearance. Stella notices her first.)

Stella: Wheep!

(Jack looks round)

Jack: Hello Stella, we've got company.

(The ship fires a cannon-shot, which narrowly misses Still Afloat's bows.)

Jack: How rude…!

(Still humming under his breath, he pulls away quickly, only to almost run into two more ships, both firing cannons. He pulls up vertically, the ships in pursuit. He fires the rear cannon and blasts two ships to bits. A cannon shot from the third clips Still Afloat's hull.

He fires again and destroys the remaining ship, but Still Afloat begins spiralling out of control.)
Jack: (Cheerfully) That's interesting.

(Still humming, he tries to correct Still Afloat's course. An interesting humming noise is now swelling from Still Afloat's engine. Alavoa appears below.)

Jack: How do you fancy a bit of sight-seeing on Alavoa?

Stella: (Doubtfully) Wheep…

Jack: I'm aware it might not be a holiday hot-spot, but the alternative might a bit of sight-seeing in the after-life…

(Jack tries to wrestle Still Afloat into landing rather than crashing as the jungle rushes up closer and closer. The engine is now whistling like a boiling kettle. Jack is still whistling cheerfully "Steer by the Stars".

Still Afloat crashes just across the river from the village, skids at top speed along the ground, throws Jack and Stella clear and disintegrates.)

Jack: Well, it wasn't exactly balletic, but it worked.

(The remains of Still Afloat explode, leaving only a few charred fragments of burning rubble.)

Jack: Spoke too soon…

Stella: (Sourly) Wheep…

Jack: Come on girl, we've been in worse spots…

Stella: (Doubtfully) Wheep?

Jack: Well, I can't remember when exactly, but I'm sure we have. I'm sure these lovely villagers will have some spare parts.

Stella: (Incredulously) Wheep?

Jack: Or even a spare ship.

Scene 14—Rosalinda's House

(Jack knocks on the door. Mrs Ray opens it and scrutinises him thoughtfully.)

Jack: Good morning. I'm sorry to bother you ma'am, but I was wondering if you knew anywhere that sells spare space-craft parts?

Mrs Ray: (Still scrutinising) Not around here, young man, you'll have to go into Laketown.

Jack: Could you direct me to Laketown?

Mrs Ray: (Seeming to make her mind up) When my husband gets home he'll give you a lift. Come in for a drink.

Jack: Are you sure? I don't want to be any trouble?

Mrs Ray: No trouble at all. Come in?

(Jack follows her into the house. The kitchen is a mess. Piles of unwashed dishes and half-eaten food.)

Jack: Is everything all right, ma'am?

Mrs Ray: (Nervously) Yes. Sit down. I'll make some tea.

(Jack sits down and looks around. Mrs Ray hands him a cup of tea.)

Jack: Thank you very much.

(Mrs Ray says nothing, just watches him drink.)

Jack: It's really very kind of you, Mrs… (His speech slurs) Mrs… (He tails off)

(We see the room blur and dissolve. Jack slumps unconscious on the table.)

Scene 15—Later

It's now dark outside. Jack's eyes flicker. He sits up and looks around. Stella is trapped in a make-shift cage, wheeping pitifully to herself. Mrs Ray, wild with desperation, is brandishing a knife.)

Jack: (Indignantly) Madame, release my dinosaur at once.

Mrs Ray: Only if you bring me my grand-daughter.

Jack: Bring your grand-daughter back from where?

Mrs Ray: Venus. They'll get there tomorrow morning, get married the day after. And your dinosaur stays right here until you bring her back. And if you don't bring her back, she's soup.

Jack: I refuse.

Mrs Ray: You refuse?

Jack: I completely and utterly refuse. Your crude threats will not coerce me into abducting a young lady and preventing her marriage to any man she chooses.

Mrs Ray: (Distraught) But she doesn't choose! (Breaks down in tears) He'll hang Mr Jones if she refuses!

Jack: (More gently) Why didn't you just say that rather than drugging and threatening me?

Mrs Ray: Well, how else will I make sure you obey?

Jack: (Quietly and firmly) Madam, I promise to bring your grand-daughter back from Venus and kill this foul fiend, or die trying. Now, let Stella go, please, and we'll discuss the practicalities. What's her name, for example, and how quickly can I get to Laketown and a ship?

Mrs Ray: Her name's Rosalinda Ray. I'm Dora Ray, by the way.

Jack: I'm Jack Kerry of the Co-operative. Pleased to meet you.

(They shake hands. Mrs Ray, drying her eyes, releases Stella from the cage and she hops onto Jacks neck, shaking her ruffled feathers down indignantly and wheeping reproachfully.)

Mrs Ray: The Co-operative? But that's dead and gone…

Jack: (In the same quiet, firm voice, stroking Stella on his shoulder) Not while I'm alive.

Mrs Ray: Well, I think you're delusional, but if you'll save my little girl you can have all the delusions you like. I'm sorry I threatened you, but I was at my wits' end. And then you came along so young and strong with your gun and your sword, like the answer to a prayer.

Jack: I may have a gun and a sword, but I have precious little money. I had a cargo of stolen goods, but they were blown to smithereens. So you'd better know some cheap ships…

Mrs Ray: There's always the sugar traders. The sugar-cutting season's just over and the cargo ships to the inner planets'll be taking passengers cheap.

Jack: Excellent. When does your husband get home.

Mrs Ray: I only said that to make you come in and have a drink. He's dead. Despard killed him.

Jack: Despard is the man who's going to force your grand-daughter to marry him?

Mrs Ray: Yes. He killed my Bill and framed poor Mr Jones.

Jack: Miss Ray cares very much about Mr Jones?

Mrs Ray: They were going to be married.

Jack: I see. That's his hold on her. Well, I guess I'd better be going. Which way to Laketown?

Scene 16—Laketown

(The edge of the wooden raft on which Laketown is built is a sort of marina, where space-ships balance on the water like hydro-planes. The light from lanterns flickers on the water in the dark. Jack approaches the nearest, and small, rather rickety-looking ship with "Angel Face" printed on the bows.)

Jack: Hello?

(The pilot emerges)

Jack: Good morning.

Pilot: Morning.

Jack: Will you taking a paying passenger to Venus?

Pilot: Depends how much he'd be paying.

Jack: Twelve sovereigns.

Pilot: Done. We're leaving in five minutes so come in.

(Jack counts out the money and the pilot pockets it. Jack climbs into the cabin, which is small and cluttered with maps and charts and a rather badly-stuffed albatross and has port-holes in the walls. He settles down in the corner and Stella nestles on his head.)

Pilot: (Turning a handle) Anchor away. (Pulls joy-stick towards himself) Full steam ahead.

(Angel Face rushes across the surface of the water and rises into the air. Jack looks out the port-hole at Alavoa dropping away below him.)

Scene 17—Belladonna

(Outer space. Belladonna— Despard's ship— soars through the void. She's built like a battle-ship, with her name printed across her bows.

Cut to Rosalinda's room. It's comfortably, even luxuriously furnished. Rosalinda is lying awake in bad staring out of the window. After a while she sits up, pads over to the dressing table and opens the drawer. She takes out a knife, turns it over in her hands, weighs it, runs her fingers along the edge, looks at herself in the mirror holding it against her throat.)

Rosalinda: (Whispering) Harry… (Puts the knife down, hands shaking) I can't… I mustn't… Harry needs me…

Scene 18—Angel Face

(They are travelling through deep space. Jack is looking out of the cabin port-hole with Stella.)

Pilot: Coffee?

Jack: Yes, please. Thank you very much.

Pilot: Here (Hands Jack a cup)

Jack: Thank you.

(Jack sips slowly. His hands begin to shake. Then the cup slides from his hands and he collapses unconscious.)

Scene 19—Pluto District Gaol

(A small, dilapidated settlement of corrugated iron shacks. The gaol is the only stone-built structure. A scrawled sign over the door reads "Pluto District Gaol".

Cut to Jack's cell. A small square cell with no furniture and a small barred window high up in the wall. Sparse and cold but scrubbed and clean. Jack is asleep on the floor in the corner, with a chain around his ankle attached to the wall. His gun and his sword have been taken from him.

Stella is sitting on his chest licking his face.

Jack wakes up, stretches and looks around.)

Jack: Is it just me, darling, or has something gone wrong?

Stella: (Sympathetically) Wheep.

Jack: What have the bastards done with my gun?

Stella: (Glumly) Wheep

(Jack goes to the door of the cell and listens. Nothing.)

Jack: Not the liveliest joint, this.

Stella: (Enquiringly) Wheep?

(Jack pulls out his pocket watch.)

Jack: Nine hours. Nine hours till the wedding.

Stella: (Glumly) Wheep

Jack: Well, we can't just sit here. (Rummages in his belt) My knife! Dammit! They've done a real thorough inventory haven't they? Hang on…

(He produces two lady's hair-pins and gets to work on the chain on his ankle. It's a clumsy lock and it comes un-done quickly enough. He then starts on the lock on the door. It springs open and he emerges into a larger room, the sheriff's hall.)

Scene 20—The Sheriff's Hall

(A large, cold stone room. A few Mediaeval wall hangings. Some big, heavy, dark-wood furniture. A big desk in the middle of the room, with a dozing sheriff behind it. The sheriff is heavily-armed and wearing the elaborate tunic of a sheriff in a Robin Hood movie, with the star-shaped sheriff's badge from Wild West movies.

On the desk is a small plaque reading "P. Smith, Esq, Sheriff of Pluto". Next to it is a daguerreotype of a young woman with a baby. On the desk are Jack's gun, sword and Swiss army knife.

On a stool in the corner is a dozing guard.

Unfortunately, the door is on a heavy spring and slams shut behind Jack. Both the sheriff and the guard draw their flint-lock pistols and point them straight at Jack.)

Stella: (Optimistically endearing) Wheep?

Sheriff: (As if this were a social call) Ah, you've woken up. So glad.

Jack: (Never losing his cool) Good evening, gentlemen. To what do I owe the pleasure of my… visit?

Sheriff: (Brightly) Wanton murder, that's what. Now, would you care for a drink while we discuss your hanging?

Jack: I'd rather not be hanged if you don't mind. I have somewhere rather urgent to be.

Sheriff: While I'm sorry to disoblige you, you're going to have to send your apologies for absence to wherever it is, because murderers are rather urgently hanged.

Jack: (Mildly reproachful) You haven't actually tried me yet, gentlemen.

Sheriff: Well, yes, we'll do that tomorrow, when the district judge gets here from Neptune. (Helpfully) We'll hang you the next morning, I expect.

Jack: (Mildly exasperated) All the men I killed on Gloriana were armed and trying to kill me. That's a reduction to man-slaughter, if not a self-defence acquittal.

Sheriff: I'm afraid that your adventures on Gloriana are news to me. (Dissonantly cheerful) Which I'll tell His Honour for him to use against you in sentencing.

Jack: So what's this about?

Sheriff: Robert Jones.

Jack: (Slowly) Robert Jones… That was years ago… (Impressed) You don't tell me you've still been onto me about that, all this time?

Sheriff: (Grandly) The long arm of the law never sleeps.

Jack: (Puzzled) But how did I get here? The last thing I remember I was having a cup of coffee… (Realisation) Oh, don't tell me I've fallen for that trick again! Embarrassing…

Sheriff: He has been amply rewarded for his part in supporting the law.

Jack: (Indignant) The dirty bounty-hunter!

Sheriff: (Mildly) A man has to earn a living. Some of us are plumbers, some of us are green-grocers, some us sell men to horrible deaths for a fistful of Betelgeusian groats.

Jack: (Politely but firmly) I have no intention of dying a horrible death. I shall plead justification and no jury on Earth— or Pluto— would convict me. (Shadow passes over his face) If ever a man deserved to die, it was Robert Jones.

Sheriff: (Encouragingly) That's the spirit! Never say die till you're dead! Someone did get acquitted once. It was twenty years ago, but I remember it still. (Looks dreamily into the distance) If anyone says it's impossible to get acquitted, I tell them that story.

Jack: (Politely, as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world) You couldn't acquit me now, could you? It's just I can't really wait around for my trial. I have business to attend to.

Sheriff: No. Strictly against regulations to acquit before trial. (Thoughtfully) Some say it should be against regulations afterwards as well.

Jack: (Quietly but firmly) A young lady, Rosalinda Ray, is being forced into marriage to a man called Justin Despard, in under nine hours. I swore to her widowed grandmother that I'd save her and kill Despard. (Calmly and politely) Please let me go and do my duty.

Sheriff: How do I know you're telling the truth?

Jack: (Matter-of-factly) Because I say so.

Sheriff: And you're not lying?

Jack: I'm not lying.

Sheriff: But you've no proof of that beyond your word?

Jack: (Matter-of-factly) I'm used to that being enough.

Sheriff: (Fretfully) It's all so bizarre… Why should I believe you?

Jack: (Looking at the photograph on the desk) Is that your wife and baby?

Sheriff: Yes. Why?

Jack: I'm asking you to believe me for their sake.

(The Sheriff sighs and runs his hands through his hair)

Sheriff: (Muttering to himself) I knew today was going to be one of those days… (Thinks for a bit. Plaintively) What about me? I've told His Honour we're holding you prisoner. I can't just let a prisoner go. It would cost me my job. It might cost me my head…

Jack: (Matter-of-factly) I'll come back.

Sheriff: Come back? To trial? To execution?

Jack: (As if it were obvious) Yes.

(The Sheriff looks at him with a long, hard, wondering stare)

Sheriff: I've never heard anything so absurd as a man's sworn word to walk back into the arms of certain death when he has a whole galaxy to disappear into… but it's so absurd he wouldn't say it if it weren't.

Jack: (With forced brightness) I wish you'd stop talking about my death as if it were a foregone conclusion. I confidently predict an acquittal.

Sheriff: (Firmly) You don't really, though, do you?

Jack: (Quietly) No.

Sheriff: (Helpfully) Perhaps if you had said yes, you would have been too mentally disturbed to stand trial.

Jack: If there were any justice in the world, the man who killed Jones would be granted a life-long pension from the state pest control department, for services rendered. But I'm long used to the fact that there's precious little justice in the world except what we make.

Sheriff: (Cheerfully) A very admirable sentiment. I guess it only remains for me to wish you good luck in your damsel-rescuing and (Very firmly) a speedy return.

Jack: Nine sharp tomorrow morning.

Sheriff: Very good.

Jack: I'll need my arms.

Sheriff: Here.

(He returns Jack's weapons. Jack inspects them carefully and sticks them in his belt.)

Jack: Thank you for your hospitality, sheriff.

Stella: (Politely) Wheep

Sheriff: You're very welcome. Good day, Mr… er… Kelly…

Jack: (Bows sweepingly) Kerry. Jack Kerry of the Collective.

Sheriff: (Puzzled) But the Collective's dead…

Stella: (Indignantly) Wheep

Jack: (Quietly but firmly) Not while I'm alive it's not.

(Jack turns and sweeps out of the front door of Pluto District Gaol, Stella on his shoulder)

Sheriff: (Muttering to himself watching Jack leave) I never could get the hang of Thursdays…

Scene 21—Spaceport on Pluto

(Sparse, dusty land-scape. A long, low building with a corrugated-iron roof and the style of a very run-down fifties diner has a sign over the door marked "Service Station". The space-ships are all in greater or lesser disrepair. Some of them look as if they could barely get off the ground.

Jack wends his way to one of the more intact space-ships. Even that has a lot of corrugated iron and some unfortunate dents. Sitting under a deck-chair under a tarpaulin outside is an elderly man with a Stetson and cow-boy boots.)

Jack: Good morning.

Stella: (Politely) Wheep

Pilot: (Tipping his hat) Morning.

Jack: How much to take me to Venus?

Pilot: Three pounds two shillings tuppence ha'penny.

Jack: Done.

(He counts out the cash and the pilot leads him onto the ship)

Pilot: We're no five-star liner.

(The cock-pit looks like a cross between a cast-away's raft and an antique shop. The actual controls for the ship are few and primitive and very shoddily repaired— an emphasis on duct-tape and prayer— but every nook and cranny is crammed with strange alien curios and nautical statuettes. There are some space-ships in bottles and a birds'-egg collection. Jack looks at these while the pilot lets down his tarpaulin and raises the gang-plank.)

Pilot: (Sitting in the only chair, a sagging deck-chair) Are you sitting comfortably?

Jack: (Who isn't sitting down at all) Er… yes.

Pilot: Then let's roll!

(Pilot yanks on a lever which comes clear off the wall. He shrugs unconcernedly and tosses it on the floor. The ship jumps forward, throwing Jack forward across the room, then lurches into the vertical, throwing him backwards. The pilot is totally unconcerned.)

Scene 22—Venus

(Venus is a play-planet for the rich. It's a giant artificial garden with lakes, fields of flowers and brilliant tropical birds. Despard's villa is a tasteless, over-done monstrosity built over-looking an artificial lake.

Jack approaches, Stella on his shoulder.

Two men guard the front door, so Jack sneaks round the back and climbs in through a window. He's in the kitchen, a big old-fashioned kitchen with an iron range. There's nobody in, but the sound of someone moving behind the half-open door into the next room. Jack quickly darts across the floor and out into the corridor. From somewhere above comes the sound of "Here Comes the Bride" on the organ. Jack rushes along a corridor, up the stairs and round a corner— then stops. The door from behind which the music is coming is guarded by two men.

Jack takes a deep breath, draws his sword and runs at the nearest guard.)

Jack: En guarde!

(Stella leaps at the throat of the other guard.

Both guards draw their guns.

Jack easily knocks the gun out of the guard's grip. The guard draws his sword and lunges at Jack. Jack easily blocks, swings his own sword under the guard's arm and runs him through.

Stella kills the other guard by simply kicking him in the head. Then she pulls his gun from his belt and tucks it under her shoulder.

Stella hops onto Jack's shoulder and Jack kicks the door down. They stand in the door-way, Jack with his sword in one hand and his gun in the other, Stella on his shoulder with the guard's gun wedged her shoulder like a rifle.

The priest is at the front of the room, reading from the marriage service. Despard is flanked by two attendants. Rosalinda is standing in front of him.)

Priest: Take as your lawfully wedded wife… (cut off)

(Despard ducks down behind the altar. The two attendants draw, but Jack and Stella shoot one each. The priest looks indignant, Rosalinda bewildered.)

Priest: What on Earth is going on?

Jack: I'm taking this young lady home.

Rosalinda: You've come to save me?

Jack: Yes.

Priest: To save her? What on Earth are you talking about?

Rosalinda: But what about Harry? Unless Despard petitions the judge, he'll be hanged.

Jack: I'll save him, too.

Rosalinda: What do you want for it? I haven't any money.

Jack: I don't want money.

Rosalinda: Then what are you doing this for?

Jack: What do you mean, what are you doing it for?

Rosalinda: You'll do me a favour for nothing in return?

Jack: It isn't a favour, it's my duty.

Priest: Would someone mind explaining what is going on?

Rosalinda: This worm murdered my grand-father, framed my fiancé and promised to spare him only if I'd marry him.

Priest: I see. And are you the fiancé, young man?

Jack: Certainly not! I was just passing through.

Priest: And you're going to take this young lady home to her rightful fiancé?

Jack: Yes.

Priest: I see. I take it my services will no longer be required?

Jack: (Grimly) Oh, they'll be required, all right. Required for a funeral.

(Jack turns to Despard, still hiding behind the altar.)

Jack: Mr Justin Despard, I am Jack Kerry of the Collective and I could put a bullet in you right now. But I don't believe in cold-blooded murder.

(Despard wilts with relief)
Jack: So let's do this by due form of law.

(Despard's relief evaporates)

Jack:(To the priest) Despard is the prisoner, Miss Ray is the plaintiff, and you, sir, are the jury.

Priest: Me?

Jack: Yes.

Priest: Very well.

Jack: The charges are murder, subversion of justice, kidnapping and torture— for torture is what this is. Gentleman of the jury, you have heard the evidence. How do you find the prisoner?

Priest: Guilty.

Jack: Then it's my great pleasure to sentence you to death. With immediate effect

(Jack and Stella shoot Despard in the head.)

Jack: (To the priest) You wouldn't mind cleaning away these corpses, would you? It's just that I have to go rescue Mr Jones.

Priest: (Rather bewildered by recent events) Not at all. (To Rosalinda) Congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials.

Rosalinda: (Breaking down from the strain) Is he really dead? Is it really over?

Jack: Yes, Miss Ray. It's really over.

Rosalinda: (Flings her arms around his neck sobbing) Thank you! Thank you!

Jack: My pleasure. Now, come on. Let's get you home.

Scene 23— Alavoa District Gaol

(Rosalinda and Jack swoop down on the gaol on the back of a pterodactyl. Stella is balancing on the pterodactyl's head. The pterodactyl crashes through the roof into the gaol. Harry is already standing on the gallows with the noose round his neck. The hang-man and the gaoler stare in amazement.

Harry and Rosalinda leap off the pterodactyl, Stella leaps onto Jack's shoulder and the three of them stare down the gaoler and the hang-man. Rosalinda has the gun Stella took from the guard. Jack has his gun in one hand, his sword in the other.)

Rosalinda: If you gentlemen don't mind, I've come for my husband.

Hang-man: This don't look to me like procedure. Highly irregular, this.

Gaoler: Do you have proper authority to make this interruption to our execution services, madam? We ask because-

Rosalinda: I have the authority of this gun pointing at your head.

Hang-man: Well, I must concede that that seems like a legitimate authority.

(He unties Harry who jumps down into Rosalinda's arms.)

Harry: Darling! Thank God you're all right.

Rosalinda: So are you!

Harry: But Despard…!

Rosalinda: He's dead. This gentleman killed him.

Jack: Jack Kerry of the Collective. At your service.

Harry: But the Collective-

Jack: (Rolling his eyes) Do not tell me it doesn't exist.

Harry: Then I'll only thank you for saving my fiancée from the clutches of that fiend. (To Rosalinda) You shouldn't have done it, darling.

Jack: You're welcome.

Rosalinda: Of course I was going to do it! (To Jack) You'll come to the wedding, won't you?

Jack: (Looking at his watch) No. I'm sorry. I have a very urgent appointment.

Scene 24— Pluto and District Crown Court

(A small wooden court-house, built round the back of the gaol.

Inside, it's sparse and ill-furnished. The judge sits in a deck-chair behind an old deal table. The prosecution lawyer is balancing on a wobbly three-legged stool. The sheriff, with nowhere to sit, is hovering anxiously behind the judge, glancing alternatively at the clock on the wall and at the door. The jury are sitting on a pile of hay bales. The dock is a battered child's play-pen.

The clock is creeping ever nearer to nine.)

Judge: (Irritably, to the sheriff) Where is the damn defendant?

Sheriff: (Miserably) He's… he's… er…

(Jack walks calmly through the door, Stella on his shoulder.)

Jack: (Politely) Sorry to keep you waiting, gentlemen. Pray don't delay any longer.

(The Pogues' "Lorelei" begins to play.)

Scene 24— Alavoa

(The outdoor wedding of Harry and Rosalinda. Mrs Ray smiling proudly and sniffing. Rosalinda with flowers in her hair.

Cut to Pluto, outside the Gaol, and Jack's hanging before a small, bored crowd of on-lookers.

Cut back to the wedding.)

Harry: I do.

(Rosalinda is crying for joy

Cut back to the hanging

Cut back to the wedding)

Rosalinda: I do.

(Cut back to the hanging. The hangman making the final adjustments to the noose and pulling the lever and Jack dropping

Cut back to the wedding. Harry and Rosalinda kissing. Confetti

Cut to Jack's body dangling.

Cut to the sun setting as Harry and Rosalinda walk along the river.

The two images blur together.

Fade to black.

Music plays out over the credits.)